News / Asia

Two Killed During Anti-Polio Drive in Pakistan

FILE - A female polio worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child in Lahore.
FILE - A female polio worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child in Lahore.
VOA News
10 Facts About Polio Eradication

1.  Polio Continues to Paralyze Children.  The disease still exists in some places and mainly affects children under five.  One in 200 infections can lead to irreversible paralysis.  

2.  Polio Has Almost Been Eradicated.  In 1988, polio paralyzed more than 350,000 people a year.  Since that time, polio case numbers have decreased by more than 99 percent.

3.  Three Countries Have Never Stopped the Transmission of Polio.  The three countries are Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.  Polio can spread from these endemic countries to infect children in other countries with less-than-adequate vaccination.

4.  Unlike Most Diseases, Polio Can be Completely Eradicated.  None of the three strains of wild poliovirus can survive for long periods outside of the human body.  If the virus cannot find an unvaccinated person to infect, it will die out.  

5.  Cheap and Effective Vaccines are Available to Prevent Polio.  The oral vaccine can be administered by anyone, including volunteers.  One dose of the oral vaccine can cost as little as 11 cents.

6.  The Global Effort to Eradicate Polio is the Largest Public-Private Partnership for Public Health.  Twenty million volunteers worldwide have collectively immunized more than 2.5 billion children over the past 20 years.

7.  Large Scale Vaccination Rounds Help Rapidly Boost Immunity.  In just one round of national immunization days in India, there were 640,00 vaccination booths, 2.3 million vaccinators, 200 million doses of vaccine, 191 million homes visited and 172 million children immunized.

8.  Every Child Must be Vaccinated to Eradicate Polio.  This includes those living in the most remote and/or underserved places on the planet. "Days of Tranquility" are negotiated so vaccination teams can reach children living in conflict zones.

9.  Polio-Funded Staff, Strategies and Resources are Also Used to Advance Other Health Initiatives.  While a polio vaccination team is in a remote village, they can, for little additional cost, provide other health interventions.  

10. The World Can be Free of Polio with Everyone's Commitment.

Source: World Health Organization

Officials in northwest Pakistan say an explosion near a polio vaccination team has killed two people and wounded 13 others.

Earlier reports said six people were killed in the blast Monday in a village outside of the provincial capital of Peshawar.  The toll was revised after authorities received new information from a local hospital 

Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio is still endemic.

The Global Eradication Initiative says eight new cases of polio were reported in northwest Pakistan last week. 

One of the reasons polio remains prevalent is that militants who oppose the campaigns often target the workers and threaten people who want to have their children vaccinated.

  • A man carries a girl, who was injured in a bomb blast, as she is brought to the Lady Reading Hospital for treatment in Peshawar, Oct. 7, 2013.
  • Relatives and rescue workers carry the coffin of a man, who was killed in a bomb blast, at a hospital in Peshawar, Oct. 7, 2013.
  • A security official uses a metal detector to survey the site of a bomb blast in the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, Oct. 7, 2013.

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